Today ProgressNow New Mexico joined with almost 30 (29!) New Mexico organizations in congratulating Governor-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham in a full-page ad in the Santa Fe New Mexican and in thanking her for her commitment to fighting methane waste in the state through comprehensive statewide rules. As noted in the ad, New Mexico oil and gas producers waste as much as $240 MILLION EVERY YEAR in natural gas (mostly made up of methane) that is either leaked or purposely flared or vented during production.
That’s enough natural gas to heat EVERY home in New Mexico for a year.
But, besides the actual loss of our valuable resources, that waste is also hurting our families in the state in more ways than one:
- Wasted methane means wasted money– All that natural gas that producers aren’t capturing or are purposefully burning is costing the tax-payers of New Mexico over $27 MILLION every year in lost royalties. The oil and gas lobby loves to talk about how much they contribute back to the state, so why are they sending literal millions of dollar up in smoke every year? This lost revenue could, and should, be going to our schools, hospitals, and job creation.
- Vented methane and flared methane causes pollution- Methane is one of the most significant pollutants that contribute to climate change that affects the whole planet. But, in New Mexico, there is literally a methane cloud hanging over the Four Corners area that is 2,500 square miles – the biggest, most concentrated hot spot of this pollution anywhere in the U.S. It’s viewable from space. And along with this methane comes other forms of pollution, smog-forming compounds and thinks like benzene that cause cancer. This is affecting the health of our citizens and threatens whole generations to come.
“As governor, I’ll work to make New Mexico a national leader in clean energy… through innovative, smart policy and practices such as methane mitigation,” said Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham. “With an investment in our state’s energy infrastructure to capture methane, we will create jobs, increase revenue for our schools, and protect the health of workers and communities, all while reducing harmful emissions that are contributing to climate change.”
We couldn’t agree more.
That’s a bold stance that New Mexico clearly supports giving Governor-elect a strong mandate at the ballot box to make these methane reforms a reality. We’re excited to see these much-needed changes implemented starting next year.
As you can see, the list of organizations supporting these efforts is wide and diverse as New Mexico itself. It’s not just conservation and environmental groups who see the dire cost of wasted methane in New Mexico and KNOW that it’s a priority for our state. It’s a health issue, a financial security issue, and an education issue, beyond the very real environmental impacts on our communities.
You can count on ProgressNowNM to keep you up to date on methane-related news during the 2019 Legislative Session and beyond if you sign up for updates here.